Why having goals, matters...


It's interesting that as I type this, 2014 is nearing its end and I had opened the year with suggestions for resolutions. Well, you know that we all do this, we reflect at the end of the year and set BIG, LOFTY goals for the coming year. By end of January, at least half of them are forgotten or not met. That's a pretty masochistic approach to things, in my humble opinion. Now others would counter and say "YOU have a pretty masochist side yourself, young lady. After all, YOU are crazy enough to run marathons!". "And who in their right mind would leave a secure job in NYC only months after your husband did the same, then spend all your savings on a wedding and get a puppy in the process all while figuring out who you are in this new relationship with a husband instead of a boyfriend and as an entrepreneur instead of being an employee."

To this I would respond: "those are all very valid points however, guess what? I'm happier now. That's all that matters".

I thrive on goals. Projects. Undertakings. Attempts. Failures. Gettingbackinthesaddle. Breakthroughs. Fond memories.

I particularly like working towards all these and experiencing how they change me, influence me and form my character in the process.

Towards the end of my UN career, I had assumed the position of office rat pretty well. I worked efficiently and resented that my hours were still 9-5 despite the work being done. I worked out rather than exercising in a way that made me feel really good. I saw my friends for lunch but somehow quality time equaled after work drinks. I can't put my finger on it but it all felt a bit numb.

The moment I left, something shifted. Maybe it was fear that spurred me on. I think I enjoyed the freedom of not going into work for about a week before restlessness set in. I spent some time back home in Germany where I slept, ate, slept, ate, met friends, slept and ate. By the time I got back to NYC I was recharged and ready to go. So since then there hasn't been a week that hasn't presented a slight challenge. First there was the official/ legal bit of forming a company, then came finding clients, then establishing a rapport with clients and trusting that they enjoyed what I was doing with them. Not all of them did, but I have learned that that's part of the game.  There were first meetings that felt like going to a job interview and made me feel insecure and clumsy, there were first group workouts that scared me and resulted in many silly jokes that only I laughed about.

I managed to get these things going and feel better in them (practice makes better - not perfect). Then I met the Every Mother Counts team and the first time I talked to their running events manager, Kristen, I had sweaty palms and felt like a giddy silly girl who talked way too much. That rapport is now better than ever ;-) EMC showed me how much fun it was to train for big races again.

And I think this is where it clicked. When EMC agreed to have me run on their team for the NYC Marathon I received a new task: how to run a marathon in 4 months having never done it before. The training added a structure to my new self-employed life that was great as hard as it was initially to embrace it physically and emotionally. Working towards this goal and ultimately meeting it surrounded by a great group of people has made me happier, calmer, more set in what I want and who I am than I have been in a long time. So I decided I would do the same in 2015. So for 2015, the goal is to run the Berlin Marathon and expand my business further.

I won't bore you with more run talk but here are suggestions for you to break down goals to feel accomplished along the way and in an ongoing way:

  1. Choose one BIG LOFTY goal in the more distant future and tell friends and colleagues/ clients about it!
  2. Watch them shake their heads in disbelief and prove them wrong with every inch you get closer to that goal.
  3. Break that goal down into meeting mileposts along the way, maybe every week, maybe every month and monitor that process.
  4. Write down how you feel along the way. Use pen and paper. There's something way more mindful when you capture it on paper than online. E.g. "felt like crap, super humid, never wanna run again". Or "I'm in love with running. I'm super fast!"
  5. Reward yourself when you meet some milestones. Whether you go for a nice meal, have a cocktail after a particularly hard / accomplished week or go for a massage, that's up to you. Do it.
  6. Find people at least 1 or 2 who understand what you are trying to do. It will take the pressure off your significant other and they will love you for that... really!

having goals

Once you accomplish that BIG LOFTY goal, do something with that good feeling and give back. Inspire someone, donate to charity, give a homeless person on the train some change, do something to pay that fuzzy feeling forward. The more you do it, the more it will snowball and the more people will feel inspired to do the same.

With that said: I'm running a 10k race today and guess what? Two moms who I have been training for a while signed up for the 5k. How is that for inspiration? And because having goals is great, they are already talking about joining me for a 5 mile race in January!

I will be posting a sweaty photo of the three of us with medals and huge grins over the weekend on my Instagram and Facebook.

Let me know how your goals come along!

xx R